Pipes burst at 2 facilities serving homeless, people with disabilities, after deep freeze

The warm up following last week's deep freeze when temps dipped to subzero is causing pipes to burst across the Chicago area.

Last week, burst pipes caused damage to two facilities that help people in need.

Olive Branch Mission in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, which helps homeless people, and Shady Oaks Camp in Homer Glen, which is a day camp for people with disabilities, are now grappling with flood damage.

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Four pipes burst at the Olive Branch Mission shelter, which has been open for more than 150 years, following the extreme cold. They were forced to close their doors and, until repairs can be made, water has been shut off to the building.

"We're a 24/7 organization. We never close our doors. People expect to be able to come to Olive Branch for services," said La Forice Nealy, of Olive Branch Mission.

Olive Branch houses nearly 300 chronically homeless people, half of them children, and that number went up to 325 during the subzero temperatures.

However, after the pipes burst on Friday, Olive Branch worked with the city's Department of Family and Support Services to relocate their clients.

"There are so many people who rely on Olive Branch for everything. And to not have this valuable resource available is really tough to deal with right now," Nealy said.
Olive Branch expects the cost of repairs will stretch their already tight budget.

Shady Oaks Camp in Homer Glen is dealing with the same challenge after their facility sustained extensive damage from a pipe burst in the dorm where counselors stay.

The facility is a place where children and adults with disabilities can go for summer camp for up to 8 weeks.

"Certain building components, we can dry in place because it's clean water. Unfortunately, the laminate floor can't. It swells up and has to be removed," said John Gurtler, of Rainbow International Restoration

Board member Jan Golden, whose son has been a camper at Shady Oaks for six years, said the facility is a great resource for people with disabilities. The families who rely on the camp will now have to find a way to pay for repairs. She said the added challenge is that many of the campers are older and don't have parents anymore.

Both facilities are accepting donations to help with repairs.

Click here for more information about Olive Branch Mission.

Click here for more information about Shady Oaks Camp.
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